Research & Evidence

Mary Meeker of American venture capital firm KPCB has released her annual Internet Trends Report. This year she highlights several important trends, including a section extracting lessons from the Chinese tech market, data on the eye-popping rise in tablet shipments worldwide, and indicators for the increasing adoption of wearable/flyable/scannable technology. Essential reading for anyone interested in reading the tea-leaves of tech and social media.


How can policy-making be made more timely and participatory? How can policy-modelling make better use of ICTs and data? Questions pertinent to the media policy community all over the world… Well, the EU’s Crossover project set out to answer these and related questions, and on 17th and 18th June, they’re holding their final project conference in Dublin to discuss their findings. (You can sign up to attend here.)

Crossover is in the final weeks of developing its research roadmap on policy-making 2.0 – you can comment and contribute here (until June 10th). The final roadmap will be presented at the Dublin conference, alongside various EU initiatives pushing on practical applications in this area – in immigration policy, youth participation in policy-making, and the FuturICT Living Earth Platform.   

You can explore the data from Crossover’s research on their platform here. We’re keen to see how lessons from Crossover can be (or already are being) applied by policy-makers and policy-influencers in the media, communications and internet space – let us know your thoughts by commenting below, or tweeting us

In this excellent February 2013 paper for Nesta, Counting What Counts, Anthony Lilley, never one to mince his words, pushes the arts and cultural sector (public service broadcasting included) to embrace the opportunity of Big Data:

There are some fundamental barriers to the use of big data approaches in arts and cultural institutions. The first is related to the funding environment. The sector currently largely addresses data from too limited a perspective. Too often, the gathering and reporting of data is seen as a burden and a requirement of funding or governance rather than as an asset to be used to the benefit of the artistic or cultural institution and its work. This point of view is in danger of holding the sector back. It arises partly from the philosophy of dependence, subsidy and market failure which underpins much of the cultural sector including the arts and public service broadcasting.

A shift in mindset to one which sees data more as an asset and not just as a tool of accountability is a fundamental requirement of making the most of the “big data opportunity” envisaged by this paper. Importantly, such a shift which would match much of the rhetoric of “investment” which is used in the sector, particularly by policy and funding bodies. This paper suggests, to date, this rhetoric has largely been just that; a new term to replace the loaded word “subsidy” rather than a genuine change.

The second major obstacle is the limited strategic understanding of or indeed interest in the use of data at senior levels in the cultural sector. For many, the potential of data in the cultural sector is at best a “known-unknown” or worse goes entirely unappreciated. For some, the idea of using data in the the arts is controversial or even anathema. Limited day to day data management skills in many parts of the sector and often less than ideal technology in many organisations contribute to a sense of strategic drift. And yet, there are, of course, islands of passionate expertise and effective activity.

Without question, the effective use of big data (so-called data-driven decision-making or DDD) has the potential to deliver operational and financial benefits to individual cultural organisations in obvious fields such as marketing and development and, in turn, through the ways in which it might inform artistic decision-making.

This paper calls, ultimately, for a strategic approach to sectoral change, to capacity building and to joining up and scaling existing work with a view to achieving a step change in the way that data can help improve the resilience of the cultural sector.

Read the rest of the paper here.